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I vaguely remember a story in which some New York businessman was noticing that he was getting mail from Hong Kong faster than from New Jersey, so he posted a letter to the Postmaster General of Alpha Centauri, and received an immediate reply congratulating Earth on having discovered FTL postal delivery, and inviting Earth to join the Galactic Postal Union.

Ideas?

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    I've read that story, but it was a very long time ago and I don't remember the book I read it in or who wrote it. – JRE Oct 28 at 18:49
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    I've read that story, and in fact there was recently a question here about it that I can't find at the moment... – Jeff Zeitlin Oct 28 at 18:53
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    As I recall, the letter to Alpha Centauri received a reply the day before it was sent. – Russell McMahon Oct 29 at 9:22
63

"Mail Supremacy" by Hayford Pierce. As per this review:

Hayford Peirce’s “Mail Supremacy” is a short, light-hearted story in which Chap Foey Rider begins to wonder about the mail system and how it works. Rider, who runs an import company in New York, laments the loss of multiple deliveries a day and further notes that it seems that something mailed from a shorter distance takes longer to reach its destination than something mailed from a longer distance. He is more likely to receive a letter from his office in Los Angeles first than a letter mailed from nearby Boston.

He begins to test this by having his office managers mail letters and tracking their time in transit. Once he is sure that letters mailed far distances are being delivered quickly, he takes it to the illogical extreme and tries to mail letters to Alpha Centauri. “Mail Supremacy” doesn’t take itself seriously at all and in some ways is a satire on the idea of a Galactic Federation, even as it served Peirce as a starting point for his own series of stories about a Galactic Federation.

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    My apologies for adding a massive text dump to your post, but I thought having a description would be a good idea. – FuzzyBoots Oct 28 at 19:16
  • Wow, it's been a long, long time since I read that (in this, as far as I recall) but the name Chap Foey Rider still rang a bell – Mohirl Oct 29 at 10:59

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